This research examines word-of-mouth (WOM) promotions as an additional consequence of a successful cause-related marketing (CRM) partnership. Firms properly aligned in CRM partnerships should increase positive feelings that can translate into positive WOM from the public. WOM efforts should be considered in marketing campaigns to develop successful long-term CRM strategies. Additionally, carefully planned CRM campaigns with positive WOM give firms a competitive advantage without the backlash of consumer skepticism often reported when firms attempt to manipulate WOM campaigns. This study is grounded in associative learning theory which provides support for the strengthened associative links between firm and charity when the relationship is properly aligned. This empirical study suggests that strategically aligned CRM relationships can improve positive WOM recommendations. Results of ANOVA and factor analysis indicate that consumers are more receptive to CRM partnerships that consist of compatibility between firm and charity that persist over time. Results suggest that consumers are more likely to recommend the more properly aligned partnerships to others.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/michael_l_thomas/28/